MWC 2013 Hits and Misses

At GSMA Mobile World Congress each year, attendees are always looking for the next big thing in mobile. But this year it was less about the next big thing, and more about taking what is out there and maximizing it to its fullest potential. Case in point, NFC was a big focus at the show. But in case you missed it, here are the highlights of MWC 2013.

1. Intel cemented their future in the mobile market by talking about their mobile projects, including their partnership with Lenovo. Both companies showed off the 5″ IdeaPhone K900 handset powered by an Intel processor. They also made a point that there was more to come from them in the coming year. And when you take into consideration that Lenovo is currently number 2 in the mobile market in China, that is nothing to dismiss.

2. Although the halls were full of Android powered devices and apps, Google did not have a booth at MWC this year. Instead, we had to rely on Intel to get our dancing Droid on.

3. Asus made last year’s ridiculous press conference, seem kind of tame, with their “magical” introduction to the FonePad – a giant phablet powered by an Intel Atom processor.

4. Speaking of ridiculous, phablets were in full swing with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and FonePad both being announced at the show.

5. In recent years, big players like Samsung and HTC used MWC to debut flagship phones and devices. This year, both companies opted to save their big announcements for before and after the show. To that effect, the new HTC One X was announced a week ago, while at MWC 2013, Samsung sent out invites for their upcoming Galaxy S IV event in New York on March 14th. Talk about a slap in the face to MWC!

6. Huawei, ZTE, Sony, Windows Phone, and Nokia, all got in on the action with new handset announcements, but nothing that really screamed WOW like it did in previous years. Meanwhile, the new HTC One scored the title of “best new mobile handset” at the show, even though the device was actually announced several days before the show – in New York.

With MWC 2013 having come to an end, numbers have come in that say that MWC 2013 was the biggest one ever. Yet, it certainly seems like the show is becoming less consumer focused. And indeed there seemed to be more suits on the floors than ever. Along those lines, we expect next year’s show to be even more enterprise centric. And while the hardware announcements at the show just weren’t that exciting, we still believe that 2013 will be the year of mobile. However, it will be less about hot new mobile hardware and more so than ever before a focus on getting mobile users to maximize the potential of their existing mobile hardware. That means you can expect 2013 to be a year that is less focused on hardware, and more heavily focused on mobile apps, augmented reality, and wide-spread NFC adoption.